tv Countdown With Keith Olbermann MSNBC March 23, 2010 1:00am-1:59am EDT
which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? >> the bill is passed. >> well, that was quick. >> this legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system, but it moves us decisively in the right direction. this is what change looks like. >> the republicans now vow to repeal, forgetting apparently that a bill to repeal would probably be vetoed by the president. the politics on the ground with howard fineman, what's next with lawrence o'donnell, and welcome to waterloo. >> we went the radical way looking for waterloo and it
looks like we arrived at waterloo. >> republicans were surprised to find they were napoleon and getting their assets kicked by wellington. steering out of the skid or are they too busy screaming baby killer at him, or go back to mexico at him, or the f word at him, or the n at them? the debate is over, but the racism lingers on. my special guest, majority whip james clyburn. and tonight, when the count of isolated incidents reaches double figures, those are not isolated incidents, they are tea partiers. and the sheer glee of the stories sweeping the nation -- no, not that. that's good. this. >> cornell to the sweet 16. >> you have no idea just how likely this really is. this was a basketball program stranded four decades ago on the road because the coach had spent the travel money on hookers. from way downtown, bang. all the news and commentary now on "countdown."
good evening from new york, with president barack obama and democrats in congress having accomplished what nearly every american president since teddy roosevelt failed to do, establish near universal health care in the united states, republicans announced they had a parliamentary weapon that would bring down the entire reform bill. breaking news at this hour on which lawrence o'donnell is just completing his reporting, the senate parliamentarian has declared the republicans' weapon a dud. details presently, first the brief historic history. at 10:45 last night, the house having passed the health care bill, legislation viewed as dead two months ago, the house then approving changes to the senate bill, the so-called reconciliation side car which goes next to the senate for final approval there. speaker ploes and committee chairs holding a ceremony to sign the bill before sending it to the white house for the signature of the president. mr. obama likely to sign the bill himself into law tomorrow
morning. he watched the vote from the roosevelt room of the white house with staff, about 40 all tolled. according to the press secretary mr. gibbs, when the yeas hit 216, there were, quote, cheers, clapping, a high-five for rahm emanuel, hugs all around. the president claiming victory for the people that the legislation seeks to help. >> for most americans this debate has never been about abstractions. the fight between right and left. for republican and democrat. it's always been about something far more personal. it's about every american who knows the shock of opening an envelope to see that their premiums just shot up again when times are already tough enough. it's about every parent who knows the desperation of trying to cover a child with a chronic
illness only to be told no again and again and again. it's about every small business owner, forced to choose between insuring employees and staying open for business. they are why we committed ourselves to this cause. tonight's vote is not a victory for any one party. it's a victory for them. it's a victory for the american people. and it's a victory for common sense. >> last summer the boston globe reported that when the president was asked why he was fighting for health care reform, he replied, quote, i promised teddy. earlier today, his widow vicki said she visited her late husband's grave site at arlington national cemetery, saying she thought it was an important day to be there. mrs. kennedy expressing her gratitude to the president, speaker and democrats in congress in an interview with cnn. >> i think it's a real -- a real tribute to all of them, and i am deeply, deeply grateful, as i think are all the american people. and the more we talk about this bill and talk about what's in it, i think that there will be such overwhelming approval and support. teddy always said when we finally pass health care reform and when people understand what's in the bill and what benefits there are for them they're going to say what took
you so long, and i think that's going to happen here. >> keeping americans from understanding what's in the bill, job one for republicans in the wake of last night's defeat, now pretending they actually have the power to repeal the bill once signed into law. republicans expressing their support for further bills that would repeal the legislation already drafted and released by republicans in both chambers, steve king and michelle bachman each planning bills anthough they would have to gain 113 seats. as is jim demint, senator mccain sending out an e-mail asking for your urgent support to help me fight this bill. by support, meaning a generous contribution of $25, $50, $150,
$250 or more. on abc this morning, the senator making big claims, most of them false. >> i think it's terribly wrong for america and so do the majority of americans. with all this euphoria that's going on that's inside the beltway, champagne toasting and all that, outside the beltway the american people are very angry and they don't like it, and we're going to try to repeal this, and we're going to have a very spirited campaign coming up between now and november, and there will be a very heavy price to pay for it. >> for more on what happens next, we turn now to the man who on november 6th, november 6th said the final vote would not be until march. our own lawrence o'donnell, a former chief of staff on the senate finance committee, now contributor to the huffington post and now winner of the pool of when the vote would take place. let's talk about the breaking news that you are in fact breaking.
>> yesterday the republicans issued this press release which was rushed into our msnbc coverage. itried to explain it. they thought they had the nuclear bomb here, what they call a 310-g point of order, involving social security. if social security is affected by this bill, the whole bill goes down, it can't go through the senate without 60 votes to overrule that ruling. this case was brought to the senate parliamentarian today by democratic -- presented by democratic staffers who are expert in parliamentary rules and republican staffers in the room at the same time with the parliamentarian. i spoke to one of the staffers who was in the room presenting this case, and i said, well, i suppose allen just sat there and nodded, he's the parliamentarian. yep, he doesn't give up much. he just nodded. there was a moment in the discussion when the democratic staffers cited a 1995 precedent on a 310-g point of order that they believed favored them. this is very narrow stuff.
and the parliamentarian was quite taken with it and asked the republicans if they wanted to respond and they couldn't because they at that time did not yet know about the 1995 case. the republicans have time, the rest of the day to respond to it. when i was speaking just within the hour to a staffer who was in that meeting, he got an e-mail while talking to me from the senate parliamentarian ruling in favor of the democrats ahead of time. this is the kind of ruling they will issue ahead of time because it could bring down the whole bill if it went the other way. so as i said yesterday when i saw this, my own guess was the parliamentarian was going to rule in favor of the democrats on this. more importantly, if this was the best that the republicans had by way of point of order challenges on the senate floor, then they don't have much. >> and that's why you always keep your roberts rules in your back pocket. >> i keep the phone numbers of the guys who know this. >> i still have mine from college. once again, a republican looking
for a weapon of mass destruction has found nothing. are there smaller weapons? >> yes there are. the democratic staff and these people know this better than anybody. they're not completely 100% confident that they're going to get every sentence past the parliamentarian. they privately feel, some are nervous about, but these people are always nervous. they're like me, they're very reluctant to predict an easy landing on anything. and the people i trust the most, talking about this, feel as though it's probably going to get through the senate intact, but they're going to be nervous every minute they're on the floor. >> all right. let's turn then to what would -- what other obstacles might be thrown at this by the republicans in the senate. if this was their best bet and it has been formally told, take it off the table, it means nothing, social security is not affected by this, what do they turn to next? >> they may find a point of order that may strike a sentence or a provision or a small piece of the bill. now, if that happens, it can take 60 votes to simply overrule that finding and keep the bill intact. democrats won't get the 60
votes, they know that. so it is possible. but some small provision might get stripped out of this bill by the parliamentarian. it is also possible that an amendment could pass. you know, over the weekend, harry reid brought a letter, unsigned letter, to the house of representatives promising them he had a majority of signatures. no one knew how many signatures until i asked bart stupak yesterday. how many signatures did he tell you he had? 52. now, 52 is not as impressive as you'd like to see at this point. i then was able to ask senator stabenow, does this mean you will vote against every single amendment brought up? she said that's what i mean but not necessarily what everyone means. so for example, if i bring up an amendment that's really, really tough for a senator from ohio to
vote against, maybe i peel off, my strategy is, if i can peel off a senator from ohio i might be able to pass a republican amendment. all that does in the end is send the bill back to the house one more time, which is standard procedure. all we're trying to avoid is a standard outcome of having the bill go back to the house one more time for final passage. worst case scenario is it goes back to the house one more time for final passage, which will be done skre quickly. >> so ultimately the implications of what you're reporting tonight, this was the republicans, probably their best chance to derail the entire bill, now the best they can do is put a slight dent in it? >> yes, this bill is absolutely going forward. i can also report that harry reid intends to start this -- earlier they were saying wednesday. he has now put out a call for presiding officers which is to say junior senators who will sit in the senate chair as presiding officers for 24 hours a day starting late tomorrow. so they may be starting on this late tomorrow after the signing ceremony of the original senate bill. >> lawrence o'donnell who's done everything here in the last month with my great thanks, and
now appears as our breaking news reporter, we appreciate all that -- and personally, my great thanks for the last month. >> absolutely. now howard fineman for the big political picture, howard good evening. >> that was great, listening to lawrence. boy, once a senate guy, always a senate guy. >> flash back to my professor at cornell. >> i knew you were going to get a cornell plug here. >> there's a whole segment later on. hitting me in the head when i got something wrong. was this the republicans best bet to do anything with this? >> the social security thing would have been a death charge. the rest of this stuff, they can nickel and dime it, may well force it back to the house, but doesn't derail it. let's not take our eye off the ball here. the main bill, the one the president is going to sign tomorrow, that's 90% of what
we're talking about. 90% of what we're talking about in terms of health care reform. these other things in reconciliation were sweeteners for the house lib programs and ooze. so the main thing is what the president is going to sign in a ceremony tomorrow. >> and into the midterms, this idea of repealing it. have they forgotten that unless they get veto-proof majorities in the midterms, any repeal effort would be vetoed by the president? and we're talking about a 26-seat net gain. a 26-seat swing in the senate and a 113-seat swing in the house. >> yeah. well, there's never been. >> exactly. >> a swing like that. but this isn't about mathematics, keith, it's about theology. and fundraising, as you pointed out. the republicans are sort of going for the unpromised land, you know, they see this in the future, they want to keep promising their base that they're going to do something that the members of congress know they can't do. i would agree with those who say, including john mccain, that there's a lot of anger and
confusion and concern out in the country, because this is a big, confusing bill, the way it was done created a lot of controversy. but the republicans aren't interested in fixing anything, they're interested in holding out this kind of anti-messianic hope that they're somehow going to be able to repeal the thing. i think they know that it's probably impossible. nothing's impossible in politics. this is close. >> what is it of the things that are going to take effect quickly that will be noticed by the average american who is not plugged into politics? >> well, it's interesting, because actually, technically, most -- even the so-called immediate things don't happen the day the president signs the bill really. it's going to take six months for some of even the immediate features like making sure children don't get knocked out of coverage because they have a pre-existing condition. but what's going to happen here is that insurance companies who know they're going to be regulated by the federal
government in a way that they haven't are going to want to -- some of them are going to want to try to be good citizens and follow the spirit of the law. i asked robert gibbs about this today. follow the spirit of the law even before the regulations kick in, technically six months from now. >> i'll pay money to see that happen, but after the last year -- >> as chuck todd pointed out, they want to get into these exchanges that will eventually be created. >> the point we were going to start before lawrence had the news about the parliamentarian's ruling is how the secret to how this actually happened after being dead for two months. we'll talk about it for 15 minutes. we now have a minute. how did it happen? in a minute. >> okay. persistence by president obama, who comes from a country of long-distance runners and was one. persistence in canniness by nancy pelosi and rahm emanuel. compromise, because this bill does not have the public option, keith, it does not have single payer.
this in some ways is a preservation and enhancement, if you will, of the existing system. clever parliamentary maneuvering. pressure on democrats. mistakes by the republicans who painted themselves into a corner with the insurance industry. attacks on the insurance industry. last-minute deals with the student loans which will make the reconciliation bill work, and a deal with bart stupak on abortion at the end. that's how it all went down. i always knew they were going to pass it. i never knew how. >> you know the headline, by the way, unless we fix this right now, that the president comes from a nation of long-distance runners, you mean he descended from -- otherwise the headline will read -- howard fineman, birther. >> descended from. >> howard fineman, good to talk to you again. >> thanks, keith, you too. >> so we've got that going for us now. unhappily the attacks continue on congressman lewis, cleaver, congressman frank, on
congressman stupak. some of them defended now by a republican congress from california, congressman jim clyburn. next, how politics have changed on this, how it hasn't, and how republicans are convinced the earth is flat and moreover, they they own it. announcer: wherever the game takes you, transitions is your best playing partner. transitions lenses adapt to changing light to help you stay comfortable and in the zone in all light conditions both on and off the course. kenny perry and trevor immelman have made transitions
congressman from california, jim clyburn next, and how politics have changed this, how it hasn't and how republicans are convinced the earth is flat and before i talk with house majority whip james clyburn about the appalling racism over the weekend, this is an appropriate place to thank you from the depths of my heart for the messages of condole ance and contributions to the national association of free clinics after the death of my father. at the age of 5, all of us look at our dads as hero and time places him in perspective. at the age of 50 i had the privilege of seeing that perspective erased and have that hero back. more in a moment. she does. obviously they do. ♪ oh, and her.
to recap the breaking news of this hour, our lawrence o'donnell is reporting that the senate parliamentarian has indicated he will rule against a republican complaint about the measure to change the health care reform bill back and forth between the senate and the house. the republicans were claiming it would affect social security, and social security cannot be addressed by reconciliation. the republican claim was that, and lawrence is reporting that the senate parliamentarian has notified both parties in the senate that he will turn down that republican bid to upend health care reform and the reconciliation process. to resume, on full display as the health care reform bill moved towards victory, the full kaleidoscope of hate speech. worse, some republican lawmakers encouraged that misdirected anger and one was the actual source. shouting from the house floor something from a protester, such as those egged on by bachman on
sunday afternoon as she later took turns from other gop lawmakers speaking from that crowd. just a coincidence that inside barney frank, who is openly gay, had to listen to at least three different homophobic slurs from protesters. he responds, obviously in are reasonable people against this, but the people out there today on the whole, many of them were hateful and abusive. another strong case in point, protesters shouted the n-word at congressman john lewis and andre carson. i've heard this before in the '60s, lewis said, a lot of this is downright hate. hispanic congressman cyril rodriguez was called a racial slur often directed at hispanics, specifically, mexicans. and from the house floor, bart stupak was shouted down with the phrase, baby killer. gop congressman randy
neugebauer, a birther, has confirmed he said it and has apologized, though he says his words were in fact, it's a baby killer, referring to the bill, not to the congressman, even though that makes almost no sense grammatically. we're joined by the gentleman from the sixth district of south carolina, james clyburn. good evening. >> good evening, keith, thank you so much for having me. let me offer my condolences as well. >> i'm very moved. thank you, sir. let me start with what will last out of this. congratulations, and i assume you think this is, if not signed, sealed and delivered. >> we'll go to the white house tomorrow, the president's going to sign the first bill. the senate will start working on that, tomorrow as well. i understand they've established 20 hours of debate, and they plan to try to get this done between now and sunday. so i do believe that the country
is going to see a very comprehensive health care plan that is going to be accessible, affordable, and accountable. >> to what happened over the weekend before the vote, the abuse and the venom that was behind it. john lewis said he hadn't heard this stuff since 1960. you were there, you saw it. how do you explain this? can you? >> well, i don't know that you can, except that i joined with john lewis in that assessment of what we saw on saturday, especially. i experienced some of it. i didn't hear the slurs, but the chants, the -- the venomous comments from people. you wondered what that was all about. we're trying to have a civil debate on how to proceed into the future with health care for our citizens. i don't think there's any place for some of the stuff that we heard and the stuff that i heard about. that is just -- should not have a place in how we go about trying to fashion legislation. and i was so sorry to hear it. i just celebrated, keith, last monday, the 50th anniversary of the march that i helped to organization in 1960. in talking with those students on those two campuses last
monday, they asked us a lot of questions about how we felt, what we experienced. and i said to them at one point, we did a lot of things back then so they as students would not ever have to go through that again. i'm not too sure now that i don't need to modify some of that. >> something that i think dovetails with what you just said, this is from the
conservative online thing, the national review, it's a quote, racism in america is dead. we now have the occasional public utterance. real racism has been reduced to menace levels. i'll vote for the first politician with the brass to say racism should be dropped from a national dialogue. do people say this, do you suppose, because they've never been the target of racism? or do they do it to assure racists that they're not racist? >> we are but the sum total of our experiences. and i think that if you have never experienced it, maybe you don't recognize it when it's there in front of you. but when you've been through this and you look at -- into the eyes of people like we did on saturday, you'd know there's something very much alive in the hearts and minds of a lot of people in this country. if you look at some of the faxes
that i got today -- racial slurs, nooses on gallows -- and i'm telling you, some very vicious language. this stuff is not all that isolated. it's pretty widespread. i hope it's not too deep. >> what about the republican lawmakers who cheered on occasion over the weekend the protesters who were escorted away? we're not necessarily saying these are the particular ones who abused mr. lewis or any of the other congressmen. but should they -- is there not a point which you say i can't support a group that permits this to be perpetuated? >> well, the lawmakers who were cheering did so on the floor of the house. i saw at least a dozen lawmakers clapping as the people up in the gallery were trying to disrupt the proceedings of the house. now, that is a violation of the decorum of the house. now i know some of my colleagues
are saying, let's just move on. but you know we said the same thing back when we had the outburst when the -- when president obama came to speak to a joint session, and we wanted to just move on. now, at some point in time, we are going to have to allow for the rules of the house to take hold and be adhered to. you can't just make up therules as you would have them be and recognize whatever you want to recognize. that, we've got to bring a stop to. >> agreed. those protesters will never apologize to you, mr. lewis or carson, so i'll have to do it for them. my great thanks and my, by proxy, apology for them. congressman james clyburn, and also congratulations on all your efforts in the last two years on this. >> thank you so much, and thanks to you for all of your efforts as well. >> i'm just a by stander but a happy one.
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whether victory would come on the third sunday of march or the first tuesday of november, this according to politico. the implication that a republican loss on health care translates into republican victories on election day. house republican leader john boehner tweeted today that 59% of americans oppose dem's health care reform, citing a new cnn poll. neither boehner assumes or he thinks his followers are dumb enough to assume that this means americans are so outraged by passage of health care reform that they will elevate republicans possibly to the point that boehner replaces pelosi as speaker of the house. glenn beck today was gloating, thanking progressives for passing health care, thanking them for proving him right about, you know, socialism, communism, botulism, et cetera. what mr. boehner failed to mention in citing that cnn poll is how that 59% opposition breaks down. 39% of the country favors the
health care legislation as-is, 43% oppose it because it's too liberal. 13% oppose it because it's not liberal enough. meaning 52% of the country either approves of the new bill or thinks it does not go far enough. only 43% think it goes too far. after six months of endless fear mongering and baiting. boehner thinks that's a formula for republican victory in november. political reporter ann binder has a post in the atlantic headline, republicans in disarray with the entire strategy upended, the party is in disarray? why? there is no fallback on health care. none. and then there is david frum, former speech writer for president george w. bush predictably frum is no fan of reform. but unlike boehner and beck, frum calls last night's vote, quote, the republican party's waterloo, referring to senator demint's boast he can coved by newt gingrich and gop chair michael steele that health care reform would prove to be president
obama's waterloo. >> in this debate, republicans have listened to the most radical voices in the party. no compromise, hand the president his waterloo. if this turns out to be our waterloo today, then there has to be an accountability moment for that, to say this is going to be a much worse outcome than we could have got if we would have negotiated early. that was shouted down, we went the radical way looking for waterloo and it looks like we arrived at waterloo. >> when rush limbaugh said when he wanted obama to fail, frum wrote yesterday, he also wants republicans to fail. if republicans succeed, rush's listeners get less angry and if they are less angry they listen to the radio less. let's bring in founder and publisher of dailycoast.com and author of "taking on the system, rules for radical change in the digital era." thanks for your time today. >> great to have you back on the job, and our condolences for
your loss. >> greatly appreciated and greatly felt. thank you, kindly. to mr. frum, in your opinion, what he did get right and what did he get wrong this weekend? >> he's right this is a long-term disaster for the republican party. they staked everything on trying to annihilate the democratic agenda. they have clearly famed on the key signature issue for democrats coming into this congressional cycle. so that's not a good place for republicans to be. i think where he fails, though, is he -- things that had republicans compromised, things would have been better for republicans. they would have had a bill more palatable to them. the problem with that is the reason republicans really oppose this is for the first time ever, government now has admitted it has a responsibility to provide for the health care of the american people. that health care is a right, not a privilege. so going along with democratic efforts to pass some kind of
health care reform may have helped them in the short term, but long-term, if the goal is to completely deny the ability of government to help the american people, they could not have accomplished that goal by helping democrats pass this. >> there seemed to be an implication in what frum was saying is there has to be some accountability. it doesn't seem to be coincidental that he mentioned the fervor whipped up by beck and limbaugh. but they can't be scapegoats because the party leader chose to acquiesce to these loose canons because it benefitted the party leaders, correct? >> it's the other way around. i don't think the party leadership is that enamored with glenn beck and rush limbaugh. early last year, if you remember, a couple of the leadership, a couple people in the republican leadership
criticized rush limbaugh. but they had to walk that back within 24 hours because once rush limbaugh let lose his millions of listeners on these guys it got ugly for these republicans. i think these republicans are more afraid of being on rush limbaugh's bad side, as opposed to thinking rush limbaugh has solutions for the republican party. quite clearly he doesn't. i think he's leading them off a cliff. >> josh marshall argues that nobody remembers how medicare or social security passed, and that's true now. it was not true in 1966. there was a huge and unfortunately hugely racially oriented backlash against democrats after two years of civil rights gains and changes in society as such, as medicare, original social security had a backlash to it as well. any estimate of what kind of effect health care could have this november? >> well, i think josh marshall is right, that nobody cares how it passed. we're talking the procedure of how it passed. the -- you know, was it bipartisan or not, was it passed by reconciliation, by deem and pass, nobody cares about that. they do care that it passed. and you're going to have a polarized nation moving into
november. i think what the difference is, and this is what republicans don't seem to understand, is that they want to talk about health care. they think it's their path to electoral victory. the thing is, we also want to talk about health care, too, because we think that once people see what the details are, they're going to like what they see. they'll not want to go back on these gains. >> 113-vote republican swing in the house for a veto-proof majority there. put the money down now. always a pleasure, sir, thank you. >> thank you very much. special comment ahead. the republicans may have not met their waterloo, maybe it's closer to selma, only they're not the protesters at selma. so that presentation barry was supposed to give tomorrow
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so having gambled everything they had on stopping health care reform, having lied, cheated and stolen and still lost, surely the republicans will change tact now and stop the racism and the home phobia and the hatred. well, we'll suggest it to them any way in a special comment. and when rachel joins you, addressing the efforts to appeal this and the ruling from the parliamentarian to derail it. and, of course, we buried lead today, cornell basketball team, the one years ago greeted by
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has gingko for memory and concentration. plus support for bone and breast health. just what i need! one a day women's. health care reform passed and cornell went to college basketball sweet 16 on the same day. the odds were against them happening in the same millennium. my special comment on politics in the wake of the passage in a moment. but do you realize how unlikely this basketball thing really is? i mean, look. cornell doesn't even have its own ball. they practice with rolled up tape. not really, but it might as well be true. the last cornell alum to retire from the national basketball association did so in 1951. the last cornell victory in march madness before this one, the ncaa tournament was never. then on friday they upended the 12thth ranked team, temple, then went to wisconsin, 11-1. then got better.
cornell won by 18, led by 26 points from louis dale. >> we've got eight seniors on this team and we want to take this ride as long as we can. after this it's nothing but babies and memories, so we want to keep going. >> print up those t-shirts now, nothing but babies and memories. to advance further, cornell which does not give out athletic scholarships only has to beat the top-ranked team, kentucky, thursday night. maybe not. but until then, we own this tournament. and judged by the history of cornell basketball, that is impossible. 33 seasons ago, pat lyons, a friend of mine announced, good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to cornell big red hockey. he corrected himself. i'm sorry, good evening, welcome to basketball, whereupon the basketball crowd booed. and was in the sequence of worst coaches in history. the first guy who stranded.
the team on a road trip because he spent all of the money on hookers. the successor claimed the refs were racist and that's why they called the fouls on his team. they replaced him with a coach who supposedly screamed at his team at halftime at some tournament and didn't realize the wall to the locker room was only a curtain separating it from the media center. so when he shoved one of the players, the guy went flying through the curtain and on to the media snack table. and now until thursday, anyway, we own this tournament. chevy malibu stands behind theirs for up to 100,000 miles. which makes it pretty clear whose standing out front. a consumers digest "best buy" two years running. chevy malibu. compare it to anyone and may the best car win. now, qualified lessees get a low mileage lease on this 2010 malibu ls for around $199 a month. call for details. see your local chevy dealer.
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an appeal tonight to the republicans and the tea partiers, you bet everything you had on health care reform, and you have lost. so try something different with less spitting, less racism, less incitement to violence before you become the whig party of 2010. special comment next. this is a history of over 50,000 crash-tested cars. this is the world record for longevity... and one of the most technologically advanced automobiles on the planet. this is the 9th generation e-class. this is mercedes-benz. see your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial. ♪
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finally as promised a special comment in the wake of the passage of health care reform. the penalty for not paying the fine for not buying the mandatory insurance has now been reduced to nothing, so blessings on those who took this first step, pat yourselves on the back and tomorrow get back to work fixing what is still wrong with our american health care system. these remarks are more about our political climate in the wake of this bill's passage. eight days ago a 16-year-old picked up a phone and announced
over the public address system, quote, attention walmart customers, all black people leave the store now, unquote. the boy has been arrested and charged with harassment and bias intimidation. two days ago a tea party shouted the n-word to john lewis, a hero of 20th century america, and john carson of indiana. another shouted anti-gay slurs at barney frank. capitol hill police confirm no arrests were made and no serious efforts to identify the vermen involved. television, print and news organizations will not be asked to turn over tapes of the event. this is not to dismiss when the nor subpoenaed if necessary. this is not to dismiss what the 16-year-old did in new jersey, but it would seem at what was shouted at the congressman merits investigation and prosecution, after all it did occur inside the halls of congress, a place at least as crowded as, and as sanctified as a walmart.
but in a backwards, sick to my stomach way, i'd like to think whoever shouted, if racism is not the whole of the tea party, it is in its heart, along with blind hatred, a total disinterest in the welfare of others in a full-flowered, self-rationalized refusal to accept elections or democracy with the narrowness of their minds and equal narrowness of their public support. on saturday that support came from evolutionary regressives like michelle bachman and jon voight, on a daily basis that comes from the racists and home phones of radio and television, the michael savages and rush limbaughs. shockingly that support comes on a specific basis from another congressman, republican devon nunez on october 21. when you use totalitarian tactics, people begin to act crazy and people have every right to say what they want, if they want to smear someone, they can do it. congressman nunez, you should
resign. you have no business opening the door for a man like john lewis, let alone serving alongside him. if you shouldn't resign for your endorsement, your encouragement of the most vile, the most reprehensible, and the spewings of the lizard brains part of this country, you should resign from this reality. there have been no totalitarians, congressman. people, these few sad people, have begun to act crazy because it has been the dedicated purpose, the sole method and function of the republican party to entice them to act crazy. those shouts against the congressman, mr. nunez were inspired not by what people like john lewis have done in their lives, they have been inspired by what people like you have done in the last year. so the far right escalates the rhetoric and level of threat just a little more, and escalates the level of delusion. the election of a democratic president is socialism, the election of a black president is an international conspiracy. the enact of health care is an apocalypse. and the willful denial of
reality by the leader of the minority party in congress is the only truth. the willful denial incidentally that includes the leader of the minority party in congress ignoring are the fact that his party is the minority, he represents the minority and despite breaking all the resumes of decor many, despite playing every trick mean and low, despite having the limitless financial backing, he and his cronies and manufactured outrage of the tea party failed to derail health care reform. failed, mr. boehner, you lost. you blew it. shame on each and every one of you who substitutes your will and desires above those of your fellow countrymen you said last night just before the vote. the will and desire of your countrymen, mr. boehner? if you're a leaders of a party that in four years coughed up the senate majority, coughed up the house majority. coughed up the white house, coughed up health care reform and along the way ignored every poll and election result, i
would think the will and desires of your fellow countrymen should be pretty damn clear by now. your countrymen think your policies are of the past and your tactics are of the gutter. but boehner's teary, shame on vast majority taking a scrap from the clueless minority, that's just an isolated incident. just as congressman neugebauer shouting baby killer at or it's a baby killer during stupak's laudable speech last night, just as the shouting of the n words of congressmen louis and carson were isolated, just as spitting on cleaver was isolated, just as abuse on congressman frank was isolated incident, just as the shouts at congressman and oinking by wilson during the president's address was just an isolated incident. just as, whatever is next will just be an isolated incident. you know what they call it when have you a once a week series of isolated incidents?
you know they call it two things. they call it a pattern. and in the united states of 2010, they call it the republican party. american political parties have disappeared before. they're never forced out by their rivals. they die by their own hands only, because they did not know that the hatred or the myopia they thought was still okay wasn't okay anymore. and so i offer this olive branch to the defeated republicans and tea partiers, it is a cold olive branch, it is scarred, there aren't many olives on it, but it still counts. you're rapidly moving from the party of no, past the party of no conscience, towards the party of no relevancy. you are behind the wheel of a political toyota. and before the midterms you will be reduced to obviously being this generation's home for the nuts. you will be the flat earthers.
the isolationists, the segregationists, the john birchers. stop. certainly you must know the future is with the humane, the future, the diverse. not of 1910, but 2010. discard this separatist, elitist rhetoric and you will be welcomed back into the discourse of this nation. but continue with it and you will destroy yourselves and whatever righteous causes you actually believe in. and on the way you will damage this country in ways and manners untold. but even that damage will not be term. the mcnamara brothers and joe mccarthy dakked this nation. we survived and they were swept away by history. you cannot destroy this country no matter how hard you seem to be trying to, nor can you inexorable march toward the light. once written, at every cross roads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 mo